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From Kavanaugh to the government shutdown – Trump’s 2018 lowlights

From Kavanaugh to the government shutdown – Trump’s 2018 lowlights

 

Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh for supreme court justice

Donald Trump nominates circuit court judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring supreme court justice Anthony Kennedy. The pick is opposed by Democrats but hailed in conservative circles as a centrist choice.

Blames Obama after new Mueller indictment

After Mueller indicts 12 Russian intelligence officers for election-related hacking, Trump blames the Obama administration, tweeting: “Why didn’t they do something about it?”

Trump meets the Russian president in Helsinki and publicly declares Russia innocent of election tampering: “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

Cohen recordings revealed

Recordings kept by Trump’s former fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen of a conversation with Trump about a hush payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal are revealed. A partial transcript:

Cohen: When it comes time for the financing, which will be …
Trump: Listen, what financing?
Cohen: We’ll have to pay –
Trump: We won’t pay with cash?
Cohen: No, no, no. I got – no, no, no.
Trump: Check.

August

Tells Sessions to stop Mueller

Trump tweets that the special counsel has created “a terrible situation” and “attorney general Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted…”

Cancels military parade plan

Trump tweets that he will postpone his military parade, accusing “the local politicians who run Washington DC (poorly)” of inflating expenses.

Manafort convicted

Manafort is found guilty on eight fraud charges in a resounding victory for special counsel Robert Mueller and his team in the first trial arising from their investigation.

Cohen pleads guilty

On the same day as the Manafort conviction, Cohen pleads guilty to eight federal crimes and says Trump had directed him to make two hush money payments to women in violation of campaign finance laws.

September

Woodward book Fear

The journalist Bob Woodward publishes an exposé claiming that the military and Trump’s staff ignore presidential orders, that the defense secretary called Trump a “fifth- or sixth-grader” and the chief of staff called Trump an “unhinged” “idiot”. Trump calls the book “lies”.

Manafort plea deal

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort agrees to cooperate with federal prosecutors, in a deal that will later fall apart when Manafort, prosecutors allege, continues to lie to them.

Ford testifies

Dr Christine Blasey Ford tells the Senate judiciary committee that Trump’s pick for supreme court justice, Brett Kavanaugh, assaulted her. Asked if she was sure her attacker was Kavanaugh, she replied: “100%.” Asked what she remembered clearly, she said: “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter, between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”

Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in before testifying the Senate judiciary committee on Capitol Hill on 27 September.
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 Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in before testifying the Senate judiciary committee on Capitol Hill on 27 September. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

October

Khashoggi cover-up

Trump deems as “credible” a Saudi explanation that journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who had disappeared inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, died in a fistfight. Later Trump blames “rogue killers” and denies a US intelligence conclusion that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was directly involved in the killing.

Mocks Ford

At a Mississippi rally, Trump mocks Christine Blasey Ford, delivering a crude imitation of Ford from her testimony, in which she vividly described a violent sexual assault she alleged Brett Kavanaugh committed against her in the early 1980s.

Attacks media after bombings

At a rally, Trump blames media “hostility” after a wave of pipe bombs were sent to senior Democrats, prominent critics and the broadcaster CNN.

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

After 11 worshippers are killed at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, experts warnthat Trump had “dramatically elevated the level of rhetorical tension in ways that do not discourage people from acting out their terrifying views”.

‘Enemy of the people’

Despite the demonstrable dangers associated with his inflammatory rhetoric, Trump resumes calling the media the “enemy of the people” and blames “the Fake News Media” for the “great anger in our Country”.

Deploys troops to border

Days before the midterm elections, Trump deploys more than 5,200 troops to the border with Mexico in what a rights organization described as an abuse of the military and what Senator Claire McCaskill later called “made-for-TV bullshit”.

November

Blue wave sweeps midterms

Democrats win at least 39 seats in the House of Representatives, seizing control of the body; flip multiple state legislatures; swipe governorships; and avoid losses in the Senate in an election that saw historic voter turnout. “Tremendous success tonight,” Trump tweeted. “Thank you all!”

Hostile press conference

In a news conference after the election, Trump threatens a “warlike” response if Democrats investigate him and yelled down multiple journalists. The White House suspends CNN’s Jim Acosta’s credentials, but is later forced to reinstate them.

Trades in Sessions for Whitaker

A day after the election, Trump fires the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and installs Matt Whitaker, who had come to Trump’s attention through fawning appearances on cable television, as acting attorney general.

Calls for ‘new election’

Trump challenges multiple election results on Twitter, including in Arizona – “Electoral corruption – Call for a new Election?”; in Florida – “An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected”; and in Georgia – “It is time to move on!”

Submits answers to Mueller

Trump submits written replies to the special counsel’s office, in a move that is followed in short order by a flood of new moves in the special counsel investigation.

New Cohen guilty plea

Cohen pleads guilty to a new set of charges including lying to Congress about Trump Organization plans to build a tower in Moscow. Those plans were still active in the summer of 2016, after Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination, Cohen revealed.

Skips first world war events

Trump travels to Paris to mark the centenary of the end of first world war but he skips a ceremony at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial near Paris “due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather”. The next day he misses a procession of world leaders to mark the occasion.

Teargas attack on migrants

Trump defends the use of teargas against migrants, including many young children, at the southern border after some migrants attempted to cross the border. “They had to be used because they were being rushed by some very tough people,” Trump said.

‘Dangerously wrong’ on California fires

Trump blames poor “forest management” in his first comments on the deadliest wildfires in California history. Local elected officials and agencies fighting the fires call the comment “inane”, “uninformed” and “dangerously wrong”.

Manafort plea deal crumbles

Prosecutors and lawyers for Paul Manafort announce that an agreement between the sides has crumbled. Prosecutors accuse Manafort of continued lying which he denies.

December
Mueller describes Flynn cooperation

In a heavily redacted court filing, Mueller shields the details of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s cooperation because they include “sensitive information about ongoing investigations”. He recommends no prison time for Flynn.

Cohen sentenced to three years

A federal judge sentences Michael Cohen to three years in prison and three years of supervised release for campaign finance violations, bank fraud, tax evasion and lying to Congress. Cohen says Trump directed him to violate campaign finance laws.

Inaugural committee under investigation

Prosecutors in New York are investigating donations to Trump’s inaugural committee, which totaled $107m, and investigating how that money was spent, the Wall Street Journal is first to report.

Precipitous troop drawdowns, Mattis resignation

Without warning or much of an explanation, Trump announces the withdrawal of the US military and state department employees from Syria, asserting on Twitter that “we have defeated ISIS”. Two days later Trump announces US forces in Afghanistan will be halved. The defense secretary, Jim Mattis, resigns in protest.

Government shutdown

Goaded by Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, Trump makes a last-minute declaration he won’t sign Republican legislation to keep the government open and demands $5bn for a border wall. The lame-duck House Republican majority passes a bill that dies in the Senate. Trump blames Democrats for the shutdown.

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